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What's a Little Murder Among Friends? Headquarters

Updated on September 4, 2015
Copyright 2008, all rights reserved, James K. Bashkin.  My photo taken after interviewing the author Qiu Xiaolong.  Pentax K10D.
Copyright 2008, all rights reserved, James K. Bashkin. My photo taken after interviewing the author Qiu Xiaolong. Pentax K10D. | Source

What's a Little Murder Among Friends?

What's a Little Murder Among Friends?

A group devoted to crime fiction, including international crime fiction (no matter which country you are reading this from).

Feel free to add your own blog to the link lists. Unrelated blogs or links will be deleted. Photo by the author.

Recently read books you don't want to miss

It's been a while since I've updated anything, so here goes...

I can't say enough about author James Church. He has written the marvelous Inspector O series about a police officer in North Korea. The books started with "A Corpse in the Koryu," recommended to me by my brother, and recommended to you by me. The Koryu hotel turns up in later novels as well. The books reflect the odd, cruel and sad world that North Koreans live in, often deprived of basic things like food, clothing and heat, not to mention basic civil rights. These novels have received enough attention (and praise, including from Korean groups) that the author rates his own Wikipedia page. Mr. Church is apparently a former intelligence officer for "the western world." Inspector O is involved in high drama, dangerous cases, and increasingly existential thoughts as the series progresses. He loves wood because of his grandfather, a "Hero of the Revolution" and a woodworker. Inspector O lost his parents in the war, and lost his brother to political ambition. In spite of a society built on duplicity, Inspector O has a hunger for the truth and the skills to find it, if it exists.

As for an author I've just learned about (and immediately read five books by), I hope I can introduce you to Reed Farrel Coleman and his novels about the New York City detective Moe Prager. Never has Coney Island seemed so uninviting, "Walking the Perfect Square" is the first Moe Prager book, and it introduces us to a story that is told in two parallel timelines, a common feature of the series. It is anything but a common series, however. There are no superheroes here, but plenty of real, believable characters who love and betray each other as only the best of friends can. Through those mean streets a man does walk, but he is a man just like all other men, fallible, proud, jealous and also crippled, with a knee ruined after a run-in with, you didn't guess it, a piece of carbon paper on a newly waxed police station floor. Briefly a hero, never with a detective's gold shield, Moe becomes roped into being a private investigator partly against his will (and partly to satisfy his vanity). He parses out the truth to cause what he hopes is a minimum of damage, but the cost of hiding things weighs heavily on him, especially as the years pass by.

Get to know Moe Prager, his big brother, the memory of his parents, his little sister... and soon you'll meet his wife-to-be, along with a father-in-law who would be anyone's worst nightmare. Learn how secrets we keep to protect those we love can end up destroying us and that love. Read as Moe finds bad guys and corruption, and fails to solve all the problems, especially his own. The writing is not flowery, but it is captivating, direct, and appeals to the heart as well as the mind. I can't put these books down. Let me know what you think.

Harry Bosch is at it again thanks to author Michael Connelly

So is Derek Strange, courtesy of author George Pelecanos and "What it Was"

"The Drop" by Michael Connelly has been out since December of 2011, and publication of the paperback version has been announced for June 2012. I can't wait that long and will head to the library.

I haven't yet started "What it Was" by George Pelecanos.

I love the way both of these authors use music in their novels. The music could hardly be more different, at least in most cases, but it adds a lot of atmosphere to the stories. How about you?

Great new detective stories - by masters Connelly, Pelecanos and Mosley

Don't miss any books by these authors! All are masters who transcend any genre.

Walter Mosley is remarkably versatile, having written a wide range of books that make me think of him as a virtuoso and a genius.

The Millenium Trilogy and cinematic treatments

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and two sequels

The runaway international bestsellers, Steig Larsson's fast-paced thrillers about crime, abuse and fascism in Sweden can be found individually or bundled as a set: Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy Bundle: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

The Swedish film of "Dragon Tattoo" is available in the US, and it rightly has people worrying about what Hollywood will do with the same material. I doubt Hollywood will compete well against the original film (well, now we know; feel free to comment about the various films). Although Noomi Rapace may not quite match the books' descriptions of Lisbeth Salander, her performance is outstanding and should be appreciated for its own sake.

Now, it is possible to order the second and third films from Sweden, on DVD:

The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.

Note, these films are pretty violent, as are the books, and I wouldn't consider them suitable for anyone but adults. I don't find the violence to be gratuitous, but even in context, it can be disturbing. The late author's comments indicate that calling attention to violence against women was one of his goals.


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